Rome for free: 9 cool and free things to do in Rome

Just a 2 hour flight from my home country of the Netherlands you’ll find a city that’s totally different from my usual surroundings. A city full of historical stories, architectural delights, art and delicious food. I’m talking about Rome obviously, the capital of Italy. Not a cheap city per definition. That’s why you can find a list here with 9 things you can do in Rome that are absolutely free! This way you can spend the rest of your money on food, because if there’s anything high on my list it’s eating all my favorite Italian dishes in Italy. And my guess is I’m not the only one. Raise your hands if you’re with me ;-)

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Climb Colle del Gianicolo

Pretty views always work well, especially in cities with gorgeous weather as in Rome. From the area Trastevere you make your way up and escape the touristic fuss in the city for a bit. On top of Gianicolo you’ll also find a statue of Garibaldi at Piazzale Garibaldi.

View the legend of Bocca della Verità

Legend has it that if you put your hand in the mouth of Bocca della Vertà and tell a lie, he’ll bite off your hand. If you’re willing to get in line and try it out yourself, you can do so for free. If you don’t think the queue is worth it, you can always walk by just to make sure you’ve seen it.

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Visit the Pantheon

The Pantheon is one of the monuments that holds the most records: from best maintained monument to the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. Partially thanks to those records the Pantheon is also one of the world’s most copied buildings. Because it’s so famous you’d expect to pay the price, but you’d be surprised. You can visit the Pantheon for free, and it’s even prettier when the sun shines through the hole in the roof.

Visit the St. Peter’s Basilica

There’s often a long line of people waiting to visit the Basilica, but it’s definitely worth the wait. Once you’re inside you won’t know where to look. Incredibly impressive and even better: it’s for free. If you’d like to visit the museum or want to go up in the dome you have to pay though. Rumour has it that it’s less busy in the afternoon, so walk by a few times to make sure you won’t spend half a day queueing.

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Sit on the steps of Piazza de Spagna

When I wrote this article the Spanish Steps were still being renovated, which detracts a bit from the whole experience. They should be finished by now though – and the steps should definitely be on your list when you visit Rome. It’s nice to have seen them when you’re around!

Relax in Villa Borghese

This is a relatively quiet park in Rome where you can escape from the busy tourist madness. You can find all sorts of (paid) museums in this park, but just walking around, enjoying yourself and watching people is maybe even better than a museum. Take something to eat and/or drink with you and live the good life in Rome.

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Make a wish at the Trevi fountain

Obviously you can’t miss this one when you’re visiting Rome. The Trevi fountain is incredibly popular among tourists, but despite how busy it is you can’t miss it. Legend has it that you have to turn your back to the fountain and throw a coin over your left shoulder into the water to guarantee your return to Rome. Fun fact: apparently about €3000 is being thrown into the fountain each day.

Explore Trastevere

There’s a lot of good stories about the area Trastevere in Rome. You can find all sorts of eateries, music and little shops. A big plus about this neighborhood is that you can escape the extremely touristic places. Take a look at the interesting streets and immerse yourself in the relaxed atmosphere in this neighborhood.

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Learn all about Rome with a free tour

The best stories always come from the locals and you can listen to them during one of many tours you can find in Rome. Luckily there’s several free walking tours too, where you get to see all sorts of highlights in 2 hours. For example, there’s a tour throughout the Vatican or one that focuses on the Colosseum.

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With these 9 tips you can keep your trip to Rome budget friendly. In many cases the paid touristic highlights are just as impressive to watch from outside. Take for example the Colosseum, which is just as great to watch without paying for it. Rome is, especially for history lovers, a must see city.

Source images: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6,

Rome is like a living fairytale. But it's not cheap! Hence I collected 9 cool and free things to do in Rome, so you can spend all your money on food ;-).

10 comments

  1. Laura

    Isn’t Rome just the best!! I was surprised by how expensive it was but then pleasantly surprised by how much there was to do for free :)

    Reply

  2. Lisa

    Great info, Rome is at the top of my Must See lit. When I get there I’ll be using your tips!

    Reply

  3. verushka

    Having only visit Venice and Trieste I defo need to go to Rome. I love finding all the free things to do in a city helps with the budget.

    Reply

  4. Amy Mc Colgan

    WHat a great idea for a post – free things to do! Very attractive for those on a budget :)

    Reply

  5. Maria

    I also loved Rome when I was there, and made it to most of your points – except the first one! I love views, and I did visit Trastevere, so that’s kind of a bummer..!

    Reply

  6. Danielle Theriault

    Great ideas to use in breaking up some of the paid attractions!

    Reply

  7. Eva

    Rome is my favourite capital in Europe and this post just brings such a lovely memories and also reminds me that I should visit the city again soon :-)

    Reply

  8. Nicola

    Beautiful pictures of Rome! Thanks for sharing these ideas. I need to go back to Rome soon.

    Reply

  9. Colosseum Free Tour

    Thank you for the list. I would like to add the Colosseum Free Tours (Rome – Italy) with the new website: http://www.colosseumfreetours.com. Every first sunday of the month the Colosseum is free of admission and a Colosseum Free Tour is always organized that day. It is also possible to book for FREE through EVENTBRITE: Colosseum Free Tour. Thank you very much.

    Reply

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